Last week, NIMD signed an agreement with Jordan’s Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs (MoPPA), giving us the go ahead to launch our Jordan School of Politics.

The School of Politics

This political education and capacity building programme will provide young politicians with the knowledge and skills they need to positively and actively engage in political parties and politics in general. It will target politically active youth who are either members of political parties or other political forms.

Through the Jordan Schools of Politics, NIMD we will aim to build constructive dialogue and critical thinking among the participating young politicians. Such activities will include political dialogue meetings, where experts and politicians will be invited to discuss relevant political issues with the participants, as well as exchange visits to both Arab and European countries.

The School of politics will also focus on women’s participation in political life in Jordan, as a key value in all NIMD Jordan’s activities.

The signing

The MoU was signed by H.E Eng. Musa Ma’aytah, Minister of Political and Parliamentary Affairs and Eng. Rami Adwan, the NIMD’s Jordan Country Representative. The signing was attended by Dr. Ali Alkhawaldeh, MoPPA’s Secretary General, and teams from both MoPPA and NIMD.

NIMD’s Schools

The School of Politics in Jordan will be the part of our network of Democracy Schools around the world.

At NIMD, we believe that if we want political actors to work in the interests of their citizens; if we want them to be accountable, break down barriers to women and minorities and strive for inclusiveness… then they need to have the skills, knowledge and networks to do so. Our Democracy Schools help the next generationof leaders learn these skills and knowledge, and put them into practice as leaders.

NIMD is proud to launch our new corporate video. Through this video, we hope to give an insight into what we do and why that works.

At NIMD, we believe a better future relies on effective and inclusive politics.That’s why we are working towards a peaceful democratic future; one where people’s voices are heard; companies want to invest; and people can be who they want to be.

One of the benefits of having a vibrant multiparty system is that you get a choice of parties to vote for. That means voters can opt for a change of direction in policy, holding governments to account at the ballot box based on their policy proposals. Voters aren’t stuck backing a faction within one party, or being offered a “choice” of parties that actually have little by way of distinguishing features.

However, for this to work, parties need to collectively adhere to the rules. Underhand tactics and corrupt practices serve no-one; the voter is left disenfranchised, and the country loses the benefits of accountable government. Whether it’s to do with financing, communications, or something else altogether, parties must enjoy a level playing field. When one party starts breaking the rules, voters and parties lose trust in the whole system and democracy grinds to a halt.

Ethiopian parties recently took a major step towards strengthening their party system by signing a new code of conduct in Addis Ababa. The code of conduct will set the rules of engagement for Ethiopian parties across the spectrum in the coming years. More than 100 party leaders, including Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of the ruling EPRDF, attended the signing ceremony.

Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed signs the code of conduct on behalf of the ruling EPRDF.

 

The code of conduct is the result of a dialogue that NIMD is facilitating through its Strategic Partnership programme in the country in co-operation with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE). The dialogue includes over 100 parties and is built on a more inclusive format than anything attempted before in the country.

All parties in attendance signed the document. Bayene Petros, head of the opposition coalition Medreck, said that while his party had refused to sign the previous document, it had signed this one because it was the outcome of an inclusive dialogue. The G7 leader, Berhanu Nega, expressed his optimism that things have changed for the good, pointing out that despite there being so many parties in the dialogue, it had managed to produce a consensus document.

Addressing attendees, the PM hailed the document as a milestone in Ethiopian democratization and asked police, media, and security forces to treat all parties equally. The next elections are scheduled for 2020, when voters will elect both the PM and parliament in general election.

On 28 April 2019, Benin will go to the polls. These legislative elections are taking place in a unique context: that of the major reform to Benin’s party system.

In what was previously a crowded field of over 200 parties, major bills passed by Benin’s parliament in 2018 have cut the number of parties eligible to participate to around 10.

So, while everything is set to go for the elections, the reforms have led to tensions which threaten to undermine the democratic process.

Broadcasting a message of peace through our network

In this context, NIMD have brought together our network of young political leaders in Benin in a series of activities calling for fair, credible, inclusive and peaceful elections in the country.

Together, alumni from our Benin School of Politics and participants of our REACH for Democracy project are using social media to make their collective voice heard.

The campaign is called #VoteFifa229, a name based on the word for peace in the Fon language: fifa. #Votefifa229 aims to raise awareness among political parties of the importance of dialogue and good practices so that the upcoming elections can be peaceful and transparent.

As well as changing their profile photos to sport the campaign logo, the students and alumni are posting messages of peace and reconciliation across WhatsApp, LinkedIn and Facebook.

Looking towards the elections

The social media posts are just the first step in a series of actions by our network of young leaders to campaign for a peaceful elections. They also hope to play a role in election observation on the day, for example. In addition, they will mobilize other young political leaders around them to sign a Charter, committing to defend peace in their country.

By speaking with one voice, the young leaders hope to share their powerful message and democratic values, encouraging politicians and parties to act for the good of their country in the upcoming elections.

Those following political developments in Zimbabwe will be well aware of the political crisis in the country. Tensions are high following a spate of anti-government protests that ended in the deaths of 17 people. Zimbabwe’s almost 17 million citizens also face rapid price increases and economic uncertainty.

It was against this backdrop that party leaders from Zimbabwe’s four main parties met in February for dialogue facilitated by Zimbabwe Institute (ZI), NIMD’s partner in the country.

Unlike other dialogue initiatives in the country, this meeting was a continuation of the Zimbabwe Political Party Dialogue (ZPPD) programme, which is exclusively for parties with a parliamentary presence.

In attendance were the ruling ZANU-PF party, the opposition MDC Alliance, and smaller opposition party MDC-T. They were joined by the NPF, another small party that supports former president Robert Mugabe. Given the public stalemate between the leaders of ZANU-PF and the MDC Alliance and that they have ruled out talks, bringing the Secretaries General of the parties together for dialogue is highly significant event.

What was discussed?

Although the specific contents of the meeting are not in the public domain, the four groups have agreed to reconvene in the future. This first meeting allowed them to propose issues they were most concerned with and agree on rules for the dialogue platform.

Ahead of the next meetings, the participants shared some of the issues they hope to resolve through the dialogue:

  • Recognition of the president by opposition parties
  • Returning to the rule of law
  • The presence of troops outside of barracks
  • Economic reforms

NIMD and ZI hope that the dialogue will continue, and will continue to support the parties as they collaborate.

International Women’s Day is an important celebration for NIMD. We work for stronger female representation in parties and parliaments around the world, helping societies #BalanceforBetter. For the second year running, the NIMD team in Jordan supported the celebrations at the Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs (MoPPA). 

On March 7, The Ministry of Political and Parliamentary Affairs celebrated International Women’s Day. The event was held under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Minister Musa Maaytah, and with the special attendance of H.E. Mrs. Jumana Ghunaimat, Minister of State for Media Affairs.

Minister Maaytah honoured female employees from MoPPA, as well as female ministers, senators, MPs, secretaries general of political parties and governmental institutions.

This event aimed to highlight the role of women in the political process and honored them as leading example in society, as well as contributors to the social, cultural and political life in Jordan. He also said Jordanian women have managed to make a difference over time talking about the struggle of women.

Women from across Jordan’s political spectrum were invited to join NIMD at MoPPA.

 

Al-Maaytah stressed the importance of economic independence of women, and of the governmental efforts towards increasing their labour market participation. The Minister pointed out that the participation rate of women in the labor market is relatively low at 14%. He added “Although we have made several amendments to the law which increased women’s participation in the labor market and their economic participation, we still need a cultural change”

The Minister of State for Media Affairs and Government Spokesperson, Mrs. Jumana Ghunaimat, said that the celebration at MoPPA is a positive and civilized sign; it reminds us of the importance of empowering women and increasing their participation socially, culturally and politically.

Ghunaimat added that empowering women requires not only legislative amendments, but also cultural and societal change. Ghunaimat said women look for justice between men and women, not equality, as this is closer to reality. She added that women’s empowerment is a priority of the government, and that women must be involved in the decision-making process to ensure legislation serves their interests and addresses discrimination.

MoPPA works in close partnership with the European Union Support to Jordanian Democratic Institutions and Development Project (EU-JDID) Component III ‘Support to Political Party System’ implemented by NIMD, which seeks to enhance women and youth inclusion and to foster a stronger democratic and tolerant political culture in Jordan.

 

It is exactly one year since the famous handshake between President Kenyatta and Opposition leader Odinga removed a great deal of the tension that marked the aftermath of the 2017 elections. With this reconciliation of leaders, the opportunity to open dialogue more widely is the next step.

Our partner in Kenya, the Centre for Multiparty Democracy (CMD-K), is marking this anniversary with the first People Dialogue Festival (#PeopleDialogueFestival), being held this week in Nairobi. The People Dialogue Festival is the first event of its kind to be held in Kenya, with voting citizens from all levels of society coming together to participate in the democratization process. Kenya’s president and opposition leader will be joined by trade unions, religious leaders, academics, students, women’s groups, and countless ordinary voters from across the public and private sector. Artists, poets, and musicians will also stage performances at the festival.

Modelled on the “People’s Meetings” held by countries such as Sweden and Denmark, the People Dialogue Festival aims to provide an even platform for all these participants. Through this, it will give voters a chance to connect with leaders so they can plan Kenya’s democratic future together. The dialogue will also reflect on the ongoing Building Bridges Initiative, that aims to develop ‘practical recommendations and reform proposals that build lasting unity’.

The need for public consensus behind Kenyan reforms is essential if they are to stand the test of time, and the People Dialogue Festival will act as the opportunity to forge this much-needed public support. The festival will create long-term dialogue spaces, so that national dialogue processes and peaceful political competition can take root.

Visit the website of the People Dialogue Festival and follow the hashtag #PeopleDialogueFestival to find out more of what’s happening over the three days.

In the world of NGOs and international cooperation, there is often a quagmire of jargon to get through. Whether you have 10 months or 10 years of experience, it can seem like a foreign language!

A term often bandied about is the ‘Theory of Change’, or a ToC. But what is a ToC? An idea about loose coins? A clever way of doing wardrobe changes? Something else? Let’s demystify this widely-used but little understood term.

First, let’s remember that organizations like NIMD are looking to support a certain kind of change that is taking place in a given context. That could take a political, economic, cultural, or other form.

But if you’re serious about supporting a positive change in a town, region, country, or continent, you need to understand the context, the beneficiaries of your work, and the intended results. Only then can you strategize for how you can help make that change happen.

And that’s where a Theory of Change comes in.

Trying to complete a development project without understanding the goals, context and beneficiaries of your work can be a pretty daft thing to do…(photo credit Alan Levine – Flickr)

 

So what does a Theory of Change look like?

A Theory of Change is a written document that lays out the methodology and rationale behind an organization’s work. It therefore performs several distinct functions:

  • Describes the organization’s overarching goal;
    • Such as boost access to healthcare, reduce poverty, or in NIMD’s case, support the proliferation of vibrant multiparty democracies.
  • Explains the organization’s mandate for working towards this goal;
    • This could be the way in which it was founded, a government mandate, or something else.
  • Lists the results the organization is seeking to achieve;
    • The ToC will also discuss the beneficiaries of the projects being undertaken.
  • Lays out the methods the organization will deploy to reach their goals.
    • It’s also essential to provide a rationale for these methods.

So next time you hear this slightly confusing term, remember a Theory of Change is all about justifying the organization’s work, and showing the reader why their work matters to the beneficiaries. They can be presented in text form, as graphics, or another form of media.

However, approaching programming using a Theory of Change is not always straightforward.

Nic van der Jagt, Evaluation and Learning Advisor at NIMD, says that “there is much diversity of thought in what a Theory of Change approach is; one thing it certainly can do is help set realistic outcomes and give you flexibility in your programming. But this requires ongoing political analysis and a willingness to try out different solutions to the problems you’re working on.”

What matters most is that it shows the reasoning behind the work being done. They serve to guide an organization’s programming, and complete the statement “we do this, so that…” – and this is crucial for organizations looking to make an impact, be it in their local community or on the international stage!

 

NIMD’s new brochure is available now on our website!

Inside you can find useful information about our values and the work we do to support vibrant multiparty democracies around the world, as well as real-life stories of our work in practice.

Our vision and mission

The new corporate brochure sets out our vision and mission.

We believe that accountable and inclusive governance is the key to achieving peace, stability and prosperity. That’s why NIMD works in the heart of the political arena, helping to build democratic societies where every citizen’s voice is heard.

Our work is characterized by dialogue. We unite actors from across the political divide, building trust and ending historic rivalries.

We support established and aspiring politicians as they shape the future of their countries. Our work helps build effective politics that represents peoples’ needs, regardless of their gender, background or beliefs.

Our ultimate aim is to achieve peaceful, just and inclusive societies that deliver sustainable development for everyone.

Our brochure is available in English, French, Arabic and Spanish

 

Democracy around the world is under attack. But, despite the challenges, no other political system actually gives us the same protection, opportunities and freedom. Democracy gives people a real say; it means they are included in the important decisions in their country or communities, and can make their voices heard through dialogue – rather than violence.

NIMD’s #DemocracyIs campaign underlines the value and importance of democracy. By showing some of the the crucial values that lie at the foundations of democracy, we urge people not to take it for granted.

And, by asking people what democracy means for them – what impact it has in their lives – we hope to start a much needed debate around the role of democracy in today’s societies.

For us, democracy is inclusiveness, multiple parties, dialogue, peaceful elections and accountability.

A Malian perspective

When our Mail country representative used the campaign to ask what democracy means to people in Mali, we were overwhelmed with the insight and diversity of the responses.
Many echoed our conviction that democracy is the best system to ensure equality.

“For me, democracy is the best system for running a country because, with democracy, it’s the people who chose its fate.” 

And others focused on the technical definition of democracy, with an interesting historical perspective.

“Democracy is a word which stems from the Ancient Greek words ‘demos‘ and ‘cratie’, which means the power of the people or the majority. Modern democracy is the power of the majority, taking into account basic rights set out after the Second World War called Human Rights under the UN.” 

On the other hand, many people, like us, highlighted on the values inherent to democracies, and the importance of those values:

“What is democracy for me? Democracy is the right to speak without reprisals; it is discussion without fear. It’s source of power is the will of the majority of people who adhere to this concept, also taking minorities into account.”

Find Mirjam, our Mali Country Representative, on Twitter for more responses. Or, share what democracy means to you using #DemocracyIs.